How Do You Know Which Agent Is Right to Sell Your House?

If you’re selling your home, it’s crucial that you pick the best agent to represent your interests. How can you know which agent is best for you, though?

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With so many properties expiring out of our MLS, it’s very important to take a look at who you choose to sell your house. After all, when you sign that listing agreement, aren’t you signing it for the promise of results? The longer a house sits on the market, the lower it ultimately sells for.

If getting top dollar is important to you, you’ve got to do your research on the agent you pick to represent you and examine their stats. What are their average days on market? What’s their average list price to sales price? How many price reductions does it take for their listings to get results?

You can tell a lot about an agent’s worth by looking at their stats.

It always amazes me when we see the same property expire time and time again, and the homeowner keeps going back to the same listing agent. As Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” What’s the likelihood that someone who couldn’t get results under their first promise will do any better next time?

In my 17 years of experience in this business, I can tell you that there are two types of agents who cause a listing to expire: the kind who knows what the homeowner needs to do to get results and doesn’t have the guts to communicate that knowledge, and the kind who just doesn’t know what to do. I’m not sure what’s worse.

Here at the Homes By Lorie Team, we’re willing to have those tough conversations and tell homeowners what they need to hear even when the news is not what they want to here. We know the first-hand importance of you getting results. From 2007 to 2011, we helped hundreds of homeowners sell their properties through a short sale because their equity was taken away and they didn’t have the ability to close their property. Many of those properties had been on the market for months (and even years) with other agents. Had those agents been honest and willing to have those hard conversations with their clients about what those properties were going to sell for, those homeowners wouldn’t have needed a short sale.

Your home sale is one of, if not the largest financial transaction you will make in your lifetime. Don’t you deserve the very best?  Don’t be afraid to question an agent on what their results have been on their recent listings. Have them compare their results to what the competition has been in the surrounding neighborhoods. Don’t you deserve to get top dollar per square foot?

If you have any questions about choosing the right agent or are looking to sell your home, please feel free to give us a call so we can strategize with you on taking the best course of action. We look forward to hearing from you!

How Do Rate Changes Affect Buyers and Sellers?

We’ve already seen changes in interest rates in the wake of the election, and we could see more soon. It’s important to know how these rate changes affect home buyers and sellers.

The election is over and 2017 will be here before you know it, so today, I wanted to discuss interest rates as we head toward the new year. For an expert opinion, I’ve brought in my preferred lender, John Ragland from Supreme Lending, to talk about it.

So what’s happening with the results of the election?

As John says, the results were a bit shocking from the perspective of the market; the market was expecting Hillary Clinton to win. He added that many expected interest rates to move even lower with the surprise Trump win due to investors getting spooked by the change, which would in turn cause them to buy mortgage bonds and lower interest rates even further. This didn’t happen, though, and investors ended up seeing that as positive.

Many investors moved money out of the stock market because futures went down. Investors parked their money in other places. This caused interest rates to get higher by a quarter of a percent, as John points out. Since this could be a knee-jerk reaction, John says, we need to wait and see how the market digests. He doesn’t expect rates to go back down, but we’ll need to keep an eye on whether the trend of rates going up will continue.

Additionally, it’s important to understand how rates impact affordability for buyers and sellers alike. When we talk about shifting rates, a change of 1% equals a 10% change in housing cost. That means if you’re pre-approved for a $200,000 home and rates went up by 1%, you’ll now be approved for just $180,000.

Rate changes have a huge effect on both buyers are sellers.

In short, rate changes affect what buyers can afford, as well as what sellers can get for their homes. As John points out, rates going from 3.75% to 4.25% is not that big of a jump, and it’s very possible that they will do that. In fact, just a year ago, rates hovered around 4.5%. It’s very important for buyers to understand that we don’t know where rates will be next year. Depending on what the Fed decides, rates could be at 4% or higher by next year. Rates have a big impact on your mortgage payment.

It’s much easier to purchase now while rates are low because the difference over 30 years is huge.

If you have any mortgage questions for John, you can reach him at (678) 495-2800.

If you’re ready to take advantage of low rates before they go up, give me a call or send me an email soon. I’d love to work with you!

HVAC Maintenance & Repair Tips for Homeowners

With summer nearly over, I’m sure you (like me) have been reminded just how much we use our air conditioning. Soon, in the winter, you’ll be reminded of how often you use the furnace, too.

It’s one of the major systems in your home, and a surprise issue with one of these systems can be a nightmare if handled improperly. That’s why I wanted to share a video from Angie’s List that I recently saw about proper maintenance of your heating and cooling systems.

If either unit is having issues, did you know you can actually hire technicians who are specially trained to work on certain brands? For example, if you have a Trane system, you can find a tech who is trained specifically to work on Trane products.

Secondly, always remember to get a second opinion when someone recommends that you replace a system because oftentimes a repair will do. You want to be certain of this when it comes to a part of your home that should last 20 years, especially considering the cost of a replacement. 

Unfortunately, as the video points out, there are a lot of people out there who deal with these systems and prey on customers who don’t know any better. If you’re hiring a company, you should investigate them by checking out their web reviews or social media pages. 

Also, be proactive with service on these systems. If you wait until the system is broken down to get it checked out, you are now at the repair company's mercy. 

As always, if you have any real estate questions about the Metro Atlanta area, just give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to answer them for you!

The Benefits of Working with a Team Over an Individual Agent

A question I’m often asked by consumers is, “What’s the benefit of working with a team versus working with an individual agent?”

When you think about going to the dentist’s office, what usually happens? First, you walk into the door and are greeted by the receptionist who’s there to ensure that you’re having a pleasant experience. Your teeth are then cleaned by the dental hygienist. From there, the dentist comes in to take a look at the x-rays, oversee the job the hygienist did and make final recommendations on your behalf. 

Now imagine if there were no receptionist and no hygienist. That would mean that the dentist, in addition to making final recommendations, would also have to be responsible for answering the phones, greeting people out the door, and cleaning everyone’s teeth. Does the opportunity for error increase? Of course it does. 

A real estate team is a team of specialists working to the strengths of their personalities. As a negotiation expert, my time is better spent, and should be spent, protecting your wallet not tied up in the behind-the-scenes paperwork. However, the behind-the-scenes work is equally important to ensuring you the smoothest transaction possible. Is there really any aspect of the transaction you are willing to sacrifice?  

My expertise is ensuring that people’s wallets are protected.

My expertise is not the paperwork that happens behind the scenes. How can a single agent call a lender, or an attorney’s office, or a vendor, if they’re out showing a property or at a listing appointment?

When you’re working with an agent from the Homes by Lorie Team, all of the details behind the scenes are being taken care of at a very high level by different people who specialize in making sure they’re covered. Your agent, then, can focus on their expertise in negotiating the best deal for you to protect your wallet. 

If you have any other questions regarding the benefits of working with a team versus an individual, please give us a call. We’re here to help you with all your real estate needs.

How We Sold Steve's House Faster Than Expected

Tell me about your experience working with Lorie Gould.
"The result was we finally sold a house. She was helpful. We had to go through a couple of adjustments to finally sell the house. I think they probably couldn't have gone any faster than what they did. We had to adjust a few times figure out how to attract the right customer. We talked about each time we made a change. She made suggestions, we evaluated it, and we went on. Which is what I expect from a good Realtor."